So here is the deal. In 2008 I was getting taxed at the rate of 26%... that is all my taxes withheld divided by my gross salary. OK… fair enough. I figure that giving ¼ of what I earn to Uncle Sam is acceptable.
I am a Technology Architect and Consultant. My company sends me all over the world to work with their clients wherever they are located. I am considered a Mobility Asset and for that reason, I have no permanent office, other than a dedicated room in my home. I do the road warrior 3-4-5 shuffle every work week – three nights away, four days at the client site and the fifth day at my home-office. I am always home during the weekend. My weekly travel expenses range between $1,500 and $2,500 each week, and contractually, these expenses are paid by the client as part of the fee for my services.
Enter IRS tax hell. Did you know that if you work for more that a year away from where you live and the location were you do your work is the same city or with a 50 mile radius, then all of your travel expenses are considered by the IRS taxable income? That’s right, my airfare, hotel, auto rental, meals, parking, etc. are TAXABLE INCOME. If you don’t believe me go to http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/ch01.html and see for yourself.
So why am I complaining? Well because since January 2008 I have been traveling to clients located in the New York City and Jersey City (50 mile) vicinity and in January 2009 that makes it a year. So that the $2,000 a week average travel expenses paid to Hertz, Hilton, American Airlines and the local restaurants are considered in 2009 by the IRS to be taxable income. To make this worst, New York and New Jersey take their cut for their state income and unemployment taxes, even though I live and vote in Florida.
Remember 26%... well now it’s 71% and I am not getting any more money than before! Where is the justice in this? My company does give me tax assistance by providing an additional 50% of my travel expenses as additional reimbursement. But the IRS also considers that additional taxable income. Bottom line, I am giving Uncle Sam 53% of my real income, doubling that 2008 26% rate, just because I happen to travel for my profession!
And you want to hear something funny. The added taxable income that I am NOT getting will put me over the $250,000 Obama limit! Yippee, I am one of the rich... give me a break! It’s like triple taxation with nothing to show for it, except for the US economy in the dumps and the feds spending our money like scorned housewives using their husband’s no-limit credit cards!
We need a tea party!